Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace

Budapest, 2004

Architecture: Formanyelv Építésziroda
Senior architect: Gábor Kruppa, Ybl Prize laureate architect
Contributors to architectural design: Case C. Creal, Katalin Máthé, Stacy McGhee, József Mezei, Adam H. Omansky, Miklós Soós, Ágnes Weidlich, Imre Walton
Interior design: Richmond International, London, Fiona Thompson
Survey of historic building: 2M Stúdió, Csaba Masznyik
Art historians: Hild-Ybl Alapítvány, Ferenc Bor, Ferenc Dávid

As a hotel, the Gresham Palace received functions that are very similar to the original ones. Consequently, the proportions of the spaces within the building needed little alteration, and in some of the suites even the original layout could be retained.
Whilst keeping the original merits, we also needed to ensure that no unutilized spaces were left, i.e. all restored parts found a use in the new function.
The passage that divides the building into three parts on the ground floor became the lobby of the hotel. Spaces on the ground and mezzanine floors became restaurants and cafés, as formerly. The management offices, sanitary units, service entrance and service lifts were installed in part where the shops used to stand in the back section.
The corridor runs through what were the dining rooms and entrance halls of the flats that were served in pairs by the staircases, so most of the rooms could be placed on street fronts.
When finding room for the technical equipment, it was essential that they could be operated and maintained without being noticed in the guest spaces, and nothing should be torn down in the protected passage and staircases. Of the interior decoration of the building, the replacement of tiles made by the Pécs Zsolnay factory proved to be the most difficult. To attain the final shades, about fifty in all, more than a thousand samples needed to be fired.
A further difficulty arose from the fact that the equipment, in particular the fire alarm and extinguishing system, needed to be installed so that building would comply with both North-American and Hungarian standards (as well as the monument protection requirements).

Photography: József Hajdú